Feb 1

We’ve asked conservation organisations around the world to nominate a species that they believe to be overlooked, underappreciated and unloved, and tell us why they think that they deserve a fair share of the limelight, this Valentine’s Day.

Each nominee’s story is featured on the Arkive blog with information on the species, what makes them so special, the conservation organisation that nominated them and how they are working to save them from extinction.

Click the ‘unloved species’ tag above to see all of the nominations and their blogs.

Once you have perused the blogs you can vote for your favourite to help get them into the top ten unloved species and get them the recognition that they truly deserve! Share your favourite with others using the #LoveSpecies hashtag on Twitter and Facebook and tell them why they should vote for them too. Voting closes on February 14th at 23:59 PST (07:59 GMT).

Join us and our conservation partners in celebrating and raising awareness for some of the world’s most unloved species this Valentine’s Day!

Species: Titicaca water frog

Nominated by: Denver Zoo

Conservation status: Critically Endangered

Why do you love it? Denver Zoo loves the Titicaca water frog!  It is the world’s largest aquatic frog and resides exclusively in the alpine Lake Titicaca that straddles the border of Peru and Bolivia. We view the Titicaca water frog, which needs support and protection, as a charismatic species. This is especially true in a time when we see the decline and demise of a multitude of amphibian species. Its unusual look with floppy skin folds and endearing eyes, add to the charm of this amazing aquatic amphibian. Their story can help spread a conservation message to the people of the region, as well as the global travellers who flock to this tourist hotspot.

What are the threats to the Titicaca water frog? According to the IUCN, the Titicaca water frog faces many threats. The leading causes for its Critically Endangered status stems from severe population declined due to over-exploitation, habitat degradation and the infiltration of invasive species into its habitat.

What are you doing to save it? On November 18, 2015, Denver Zoo received 20 Titicaca water froglets from Huachipa Zoo in Lima, Peru.  These 20 froglets are offspring from individuals confiscated by Peruvian wildlife authorities. Illegal trafficking of Titicaca water frogs for human consumption as “frog-smoothies” is a primary reason for their critically endangered status. This marks the first time in approximately 40 years that a zoo in North America has had this species under its care.  This acquisition is an important milestone for Denver Zoo’s conservation of this species in Peru and Bolivia. Since 2007, the Zoo has conducted field research, worked with communities, and trained protected area managers, researchers and educators.  As the only AZA institution with this Critically Endangered aquatic frog on exhibit, Denver Zoo is able to spearhead a captive breeding program for the Titicaca water frog. It also provides the opportunity to connect and educate guests about the importance of global conservation and the important role Denver Zoo plays in these efforts.

Find out more about Denver Zoo’s conservation projects

Discover more frog and toad species on Arkive



  • jim sneglov (February 4th, 2016 at 5:14 pm):

    Here’s to why

    Telmatobius culeus is not only unique for being endemic to lake Titicaca solely, it developed a highly interesting as well as unique method for breathing under water in it’s long evolution. Also, I love to watch it’s splendid movements when it swims. The reason for their risk of extinction must be the ignorance and cold-heartedness of stupid people with appalling blender and hoax-bs skills! Shockshake! There is no scientific evidence it cures any disease! While It is possible one can get cholera from consuming these frogs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MJAxn74JCk

    I think it has beautiful eyes. If you look into them long enough a miracle might happen but for this to happen we’ll have to respect it’s natural environment or habitat or it will close it’s eyes forever.